Google books research on Trompe Trombe

I'm trying searches to find more historical information on the Trompe, also spelled Trombe. Searching for both spellings locates some items which otherwise are buried in thousands of links.

I'm also looking for the references cited in The Supplement to the Penny Cyclopædia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, page 208. See my Trompe tags on

A very different kind of blowing-machine, which appears to be of French origin, and has been much used for blast furnaces on the Continent, and also, we believe, in the Unites States of North America, though it does not appear to have been much adopted in this country, is the water blowing-engine otherwide called trombe or trompe, in which water is allowed to fall in a minutely divided stream by passing through a callender, or by some other  contrivance, down a large tube, in the sides of which, near the upper end, are several apertures for the admission of air.  In so falling the water draws with it a great quantity of air, which passes with it into a vessel at the bottom of the pipe, where the water dashes upon a pedestal which disperses it through the vessel.  By this action the separation of the air and water appears to be facilitated, and consequently the air collects in the upper part of the vessel, whence it is conducted by a pipe to the furnace, while the water escapes by apertures provided for the purpose in the lower part of the vessel.  The action of this kind of blowing-engine, which is represented in several different forms, has been variously explained by different writers, and the powerful current of air produced by it has been compared to the wind which accompanies violent showers of rain.  It is worthy of remark, as probably indicative of the origin of its name, if not also of the invention of this apparatus, that its French name trombe is the same as that of the meteorological phenomenon which we call a water-spout.  For further particulars the reader may consult Dr. Ure's Dictionary of Arts, art. 'Metallurgy,' pp. 824, 825; Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopædia, art. 'Blowing-Engine,' and the Encyclopædia Britannica, art. 'Hydro-Dynamics,' vol. xii., p. 106, of the seventh edition.

I added some links to the Wikipedia article on Andrew Ure, who wrote A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines, vol. 1, preface dated 10 June 1858 (see page xiv), Only volume 1 turns up on Google books, and the Metallurgy article cited in the Penny Cyclopædia would be in a later volume.

An article on "Existing traces of Mediæval Iron-working in Cleveland" in The Yorkshire Archæological Journal, vol. VIII, pp 30-48, mentions the Trompe on p. 41 note 11.

Mr. Bell, in speaking of some Catalan furnaces which he had an opportunity of examining in North Caroline, describes them as "nearly three feet from back to front, and two feet from side to side, by eighteen inches or two feet in depth. They were blown by a trombe, a very simple form of apparatus, in wich the current of air is produced by water falling through a square upright box of wood, the blast being conveyed to the hearth through stems of trees bored for the purpose. Into the furnace are thrown charcoal and ore, the latter in small fragments. The hot embers, and the masonry heated by the previous charge, quickly cause combustion to pervade the mass, when the blast is turned on." Dr. Percy gives a detailed description, with drawings and plans, of the trombe (or, as he prints it, trompe), and states that "with one or two exceptions it was the only blowing-machine employed in the Catalan forges of the Department of Ariége. It is said to have been invented in Italy in 1640. It is a simple, effective, and ingenious contrivance for producing a continuous and equable blast, but its use is restricted to localities where a fall of water from a height of several yards can be obtained." A little farther on he is more definite as to the fall required, for sometimes, he says, trompes may be seen 29½ to 32¾ feet high, but generally they are only from 23 to 28 feet high.


One Response to “Google books research on Trompe Trombe”

  1. antono Guerra Says:

    I think the trompe invention is itlian. Anyway it was used long go in Catalan forges and from irradiated to Europe and Americas

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